Potential benefits of flood-induced adventitious roots depend on duration of submergence

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The formation of aquatic adventitious roots (ARs) is considered an important adaptation to the adverse conditions of flooding. These roots replace the original root system, the growth of which is inhibited by oxygen deficiency in the flooded soil.

Correlation between total surface area of the aquatic adventitious roots of S. dulcamara and the uptake rates of phosphate under partially flooded conditions.
Correlation between total surface area of the aquatic adventitious roots of S. dulcamara and the uptake rates of phosphate under partially flooded conditions. The uptake rate was calculated after 6 h of incubation of the adventitious roots in a closed cuvette that was fixed around the stem and contained nutrient solution. Slopes, correlation coefficients and statistical significance of the linear regression line are indicated.

New ARs are supposed to increase fitness during flooding by improving nutrient uptake. However, they may also incur costs to the plant’s energy and carbohydrate budget. Zhang et al. show that the balance between the potential benefits and costs depends on the duration of partial flooding in Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet). Net benefits were found in long-term but not in short-term flooding, indicating an adaptive role of ARs only during long-term flooding.

Reference

Zhang, Q., Huber, H., Beljaars, S. J. M., Birnbaum, D., de Best, S., de Kroon, H., & Visser, E. J. W. (2017). Benefits of flooding-induced aquatic adventitious roots depend on the duration of submergence: linking plant performance to root functioning. Annals of Botany, 120(1), 171–180. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx049


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